The teachers in Utah have had enough. Enough of the school shootings. Enough of feeling as though they are not in control — and they are doing something about it.
While other states debate whether to pass laws allowing teachers to be trained and carry firearms within the sanctuary of a school, Utah has long had another restriction in place. Not only are teachers allowed to obtain a concealed carry permit and carry a weapon on school and university campuses, but colleges and school districts are not even allowed to ask if the teachers are carrying. This view of armed educators is one that resonates well with the school boards and with teachers throughout the state.
Do Guns Protect Students?
This is a hot debate between students, parents and educators, with many of the left-leaning towards restricting guns from school campuses at all. Some Utah schools are proactively educating teachers on how to respond in the event of an emergency, such as a recent active shooter training held by the county sheriff’s office.
Florida and Texas are among the other states that allow educators to carry firearms while on the job. Florida’s law was passed specifically after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, as it was determined that armed educators likely could have stopped the devastation — or at least lessened the length of time that the gunman was able to continue shooting.
This points to a wider conversation that is ongoing throughout the country, where lawmakers are often questioning their decisions to not allow guns on school and college campuses.
Do Teachers Want to Carry Guns?
While Utah law allows teachers to carry a concealed weapon, there are still some that are not comfortable with it. Teachers would have to come to grips with the idea that the individual wielding a gun in their direction might be a student, making it an extremely complex decision about whether they could pull the trigger in that instance.
Generally, having a concealed carry means that the individual is willing or able to use force to defend themselves or those that they love and value. That decision can be dramatically different when facing down a disturbed 17-year old as opposed to an adult armed gunman. While teachers may be carrying guns, that doesn’t mean that they will be the ones on the front line of any defense force — simply that they feel more comfortable being armed. There will be no pressure on those individuals to take actions with which they are not comfortable.
At the very least, knowing that there are more armed teachers in a particular school might be enough of a deterrent to cause a would-be gunman to at least think twice. What is clear is that local law enforcement professionals are stepping up to the challenge, and taking this opportunity to ensure that the teachers have the education that they need to keep Utah schools safe.